Rich Haber
Location: United States
Traditions: Alcoholics Anonymous
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A Lesson in Humility
Remember, when pointing your finger at someone else's failings, three fingers are pointing back at you.
I was in the home of my oldest friend Joy, whom I dated when we were 16. Now, at age 67, she had lost her husband and I flew down to S. Calif. to stay with her during her bereavement. Another of Joy’s friends Leslie also flew in; Joy had also met her as a teenager. Leslie was an interesting study in all that glitters. Joy had pictures of her when we all lived in 1960s Brooklyn; Leslie was your quintessential tall blond with an amazingly infectious laugh! It almost made up for her compulsive need to talk, unaware of what a crushing bore she was. Apparently those good looks had permitted her to interrupt anyone else’s conversation whenever she wanted. She was getting on my last nerve when she interrupted a prayer I’d offered to read aloud, about a few dysfunctional ways we oldsters deal with aging. I’d saved it on my laptop and while I looked for it, Joy and Leslie made small talk until I said, “Okay, ya wanna hear it?” They stopped talking and I began. After two lines, Leslie started to talk but I raised my volume a little and she stopped. About two lines later, she turned to Joy and started commenting, as if she’d put my voice on pause. I stopped reciting and went back to my email, grumbling, “That’s it, prayer over, I’m through.” Both women wailed, “Oh come on, Richie, just continue!” “No way,” I replied, looking at Leslie. “It’s very rude to interrupt people and you do that a lot.” At this point, I was about to be taught a good lesson in humility. After Leslie tried to convince me that she had not interrupted me at all, that she was merely commenting about this, that and the other thing, I said, “You commented while I was reading.” She continued her delusional defense but finally gave up and apologized. Before she could qualify it, I blurted, “Apology accepted.” Well, not five minutes later, in the course of conversation, I unconsciously interrupted her! While I  continued, Leslie turned to Joy and with that infectious laugh, asked loudly, “Didn’t he just interrupt us?” I stopped, face reddening. To go from the ridiculous to the sublime, I piped up, “Yes, I did... but the difference is....” “Oh,” Leslie smiled, “so it’s okay for you to interrupt but not for anyone else?” The two women guffawed mercilessly. “If ya lemme finish, fer petesake...” I began, “the difference is that I admitted it.” The women laughed all the way through my Pyrrhic victory. Giving it one more shot, I added, “By the way, I’m sorry.” Honestly? I wasn’t. Anyway, here’s the prayer in question. A PRAYER FOR THOSE GROWING OLDER Lord, Thou knowest that I am growing older. Keep me from becoming talkative and possessed with the idea that I must express myself on every subject. Release me from the craving to straighten out everyone’s affairs. Keep me from the recital of endless detail. Give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips when I am inclined to tell of my aches and pains; they are increasing with the years and my love to speak of them grows sweeter as time goes by. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong. Make me thoughtful but not nosy; helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom and experience it does seem a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest, Lord, that I’ll want a few friends at the end.

A Lesson in Humility

I was in the home of my oldest friend Joy, whom I dated when we were 16. Now, at age 67, she had lost her husband and I flew down to S. Calif. to stay with her during her bereavement. Another of Joy’s friends Leslie also flew in; Joy had also met her as a teenager. Leslie was an interesting study in all that glitters. Joy had pictures of her when we all lived in 1960s Brooklyn; Leslie was your quintessential tall blond with an amazingly infectious laugh! It almost made up for her compulsive need to talk, unaware of what a crushing bore she was. Apparently those good looks had permitted her to interrupt anyone else’s conversation whenever she wanted. She was getting on my last nerve when she interrupted a prayer I’d offered to read aloud, about a few dysfunctional ways we oldsters deal with aging. I’d saved it on my laptop and while I looked for it, Joy and Leslie made small talk until I said, “Okay, ya wanna hear it?” They stopped talking and I began. After two lines, Leslie started to talk but I raised my volume a little and she stopped. About two lines later, she turned to Joy and started commenting, as if she’d put my voice on pause. I stopped reciting and went back to my email, grumbling, “That’s it, prayer over, I’m through.” Both women wailed, “Oh come on, Richie, just continue!” “No way,” I replied, looking at Leslie. “It’s very rude to interrupt people and you do that a lot.” At this point, I was about to be taught a good lesson in humility. After Leslie tried to convince me that she had not interrupted me at all, that she was merely commenting about this, that and the other thing, I said, “You commented while I was reading.” She continued her delusional defense but finally gave up and apologized. Before she could qualify it, I blurted, “Apology accepted.” Well, not five minutes later, in the course of conversation, I unconsciously interrupted her! While I  continued, Leslie turned to Joy and with that infectious laugh, asked loudly, “Didn’t he just interrupt us?” I stopped, face reddening. To go from the ridiculous to the sublime, I piped up, “Yes, I did... but the difference is....” “Oh,” Leslie smiled, “so it’s okay for you to interrupt but not for anyone else?” The two women guffawed mercilessly. “If ya lemme finish, fer petesake...” I began, “the difference is that I admitted it.” The women laughed all the way through my Pyrrhic victory. Giving it one more shot, I added, “By the way, I’m sorry.” Honestly? I wasn’t. Anyway, here’s the prayer in question. A PRAYER FOR THOSE GROWING OLDER Lord, Thou knowest that I am growing older. Keep me from becoming talkative and possessed with the idea that I must express myself on every subject. Release me from the craving to straighten out everyone’s affairs. Keep me from the recital of endless detail. Give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips when I am inclined to tell of my aches and pains; they are increasing with the years and my love to speak of them grows sweeter as time goes by. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong. Make me thoughtful but not nosy; helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom and experience it does seem a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest, Lord, that I’ll want a few friends at the end.

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